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Archive for Monday, August 27, 2012

Statehouse Live: Brownback, legislators approve funding that they say will complete Statehouse project

August 27, 2012

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State elected officials on Monday approved a plan by Gov. Sam Brownback for an additional $12.4 million to go toward completing the visitor's center on the north side of the Statehouse. That pushes the Capitol restoration and renovation project to $332 million.

State elected officials on Monday approved a plan by Gov. Sam Brownback for an additional $12.4 million to go toward completing the visitor's center on the north side of the Statehouse. That pushes the Capitol restoration and renovation project to $332 million.

— State elected leaders on Monday added another $12.4 million to the ever-increasing price tag for the Statehouse renovation project, which is now pegged at approximately $332 million.

Gov. Sam Brownback put together a proposal that he said will complete the project.

"It's time to get it done," said Brownback, who expressed frustration with the project's cost, which started more than a decade ago with original estimates at $90 million.

The new funding includes $7 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation, which said those dollars will come from operational savings and federal funds, and $5.4 million in bonds.

The funds will finish a visitor's center, which is currently a shell; and go toward landscaping, sidewalks, driveways and removal of a huge crane. Funds to fix the Capitol's roof and copper dome have already been approved.

The project is now scheduled to be finished by the end of 2013.

The State Finance Council, which includes legislative leaders and is chaired by Brownback, voted 7-1 for the new funding.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said legislators are frustrated with the costs of the renovation and restoration of the historic building, but said it would be an injustice if the visitor's center wasn't completed.

"This building belongs to the people and they ought to have a place where they can gather," Davis said.

State Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, was the lone dissenting vote against the new funding. McGinn said she opposed tapping KDOT dollars, saying that state officials continue to use highway funds as a "slush fund." She also said she thought the full Legislature should have voted on the proposal instead of only the Finance Council.

Statehouse Architect Barry Greis said the visitor's center on the north side of the Capitol will include a marble floor inlaid with a state map donated by the Kansas Association of Counties. There will be an an auditorium, classroom, two large restrooms, an area to relax and eat lunch, an interview room for legislators, and a possible "meditation room," he said.

In addition to the new funding, the project's contractor, J.E. Dunn Construction Co. has identified $5 million in savings that will be plowed back into other areas of the project, officials said.

Brownback appeared obviously frustrated by the project. "It's time to get it done," he said, adding, "I haven't been the biggest fan of this project."

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said he thought some of the items, including the entrance and exit to the visitor's center, had already been financed.

But Greis said that was not the case and that he regretted if there had been a misunderstanding.

Brownback also asked about a private group that had been set up to raise funds for the visitor's center. But Greis said the group had been waiting to see what the state would do, and that it wanted to raise funds for enhancements to the visitor's center.

Brownback and several legislators were adamant that the project be completed by the end of 2013. "It's done. End of next year, we're done," Brownback said. He added that the new copper roof will be shiny like a new penny, "but it will cost a lot more than that."

Comments

Thomas Bryce 1 year, 7 months ago

Pretty good Timeline of estimates and costs on-line at The Kansas Legislative Research Dept.'s Kansas Legislator Briefing Book 2011 under W-5 Capitol Restoration. Interesting. Idea started in March 1998. Took two years of analysis to come up with the initial 90 million estimate.

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jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

I thought original estimates were something like $3 million, not $90.

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texburgh 1 year, 7 months ago

There are reasons for the cost overruns. I don't deny that some sure have the feel if "milking it" as some have said here but there are legitimate reasons as well. Some are there because the legislature added more projects after it was started - the parking garage, I believe, was an add on. Additionally, things were discovered during the work that were not anticipated. The dome cracks are one example. The point is, instead of assuming the contractor is "milking it" just to make your usual anti-government rant, why not explore the facts? I guess that's too much work.

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Kevin Haislip 1 year, 7 months ago

1 third of a billion dollars ! would buy a lot of text books.

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headdoctor 1 year, 7 months ago

This sounds like another case of Brownback not understanding how Federal funding works. I will bet the Feds wont be amused if they divert money intended for the DOT to this renovation project.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 7 months ago

Contractor + Government Contract ="Milk'n It"!

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Topple 1 year, 7 months ago

It was my understanding that when a contractor/construction company bids on a job, they are offering a contract to do the alloted work for that price. Hence, if the job ends up costing $330 million instead of the $90 million they bid, the construction company eats the $240 million loss and finishes the job per the contract.

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 7 months ago

Who approved the construction contract? Normally there is a Time of completion deadline for each stage of a project. Failure to meet the deadline results in a penalty or fine. Cost over runs are usually covered by the Contractor(or their insurance). Who approved all of this and why weren't these types of stipulations put into the contract or were they? Horribly Mismanaged from the looks of all of this. There should be an audit.

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autie 1 year, 7 months ago

Sending our tax dollars to Missouri...that is treason and a capital offense....capitol offense..hahah.

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Mike George 1 year, 7 months ago

As the article indicates, the company who did the original estimates and has "managed" the project from the beginning is J.E. Dunn Construction, Kansas City, MO.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 7 months ago

This renovation began pre Brownback. Idea of spending over $330,000,000 on renovations is nothing more than offensive.

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oletimer 1 year, 7 months ago

schools are closing and don't have operating money. Everyone department is being told to cut back. No money anywhere. Yet the morons in Topeka including brownyback are wasting money for the capital to thieves and lairs who have increased the cost of this project 3.5 times to finish it? Is brownyback's relation involved in this? Sure sounds like it. Only in Topeka could something like this happen and no one is worried about it. Typical Bull Sh*t. Fire everyone of the clowns in Topeka and get a new bunch. This bunch sucks.

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George_Braziller 1 year, 7 months ago

$12.4 million more for the capitol building but a few hundred thousand for the Kansas Arts Commission was too much even though it cost the state millions of dollars in lost matching federal dollars and grant funding eligibility?

My grandmother could still do a better job at managing finances and she died 13 years ago.

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kansasredlegs 1 year, 7 months ago

Each and every time Gov. Sam slashes and cuts the budget to help the taxpayers of this State, our local guy, Davis, is all up in arms about this administration. Funny, when it's continued spending on this boondoggle, our local guy, Davis can't get to the trough fast enough. So, local guy Davis, people need a building, i.e., visitor center, to go visit a building? Uh?.

How long has our local guy been there? How many votes has he cast for budgets supporting this boondoggle? If even one, then it's time to go local guy.

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CountyResident 1 year, 7 months ago

New money to help pay for this project will come from the Federal Government and $5.4 million in new debt issued by Kansas. And why does Brownback and his followers complain about the federal deficit?

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DrQuack 1 year, 7 months ago

Millions upon millions of dollars for the Statehouse. How come the legislators can't seem to find the funds to keep KPERS solvent in the long term? Why have KPERS retirees not seen a lost of living (COLA) for nearly two decades?

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autie 1 year, 7 months ago

That sure would build a lot of new highway and open up areas for economic development. That sure would go a long way to help out education and/or social services. That sure would do a lot of good things for a lot of people. Oh well, our august body of law makers will have a very nice place to park.

Somebody...who are some of the big name contractors?

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Kevin Haislip 1 year, 7 months ago

1 third of a billion dollars wow that's nutz !

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autie 1 year, 7 months ago

Is there any site where we can find the contractors working on the projects? That might be an interesting read.

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fu7il3 1 year, 7 months ago

I hope this fits within Brownback's part of the proposed ten percent budget reduction.

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Tracy Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

$332 million vs. $90 million estimate. Hmmmm.....no wonder this state is in debt. Idiots!!

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